Metastable Oxygen Emission Bands

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Science  17 Nov 1978:
Vol. 202, Issue 4369, pp. 751-753
DOI: 10.1126/science.202.4369.751


Recombination of ground-state oxygen atoms populates six different bound electronic states of molecular oxygen. Of the six optical transitions expected between the three upper states at 4 to 4.5 electron volts and the two lowest states, five have been observed in the afterglow of a conventional helium-oxygen microwave discharge in both 16O2 and 18O2, three of them for the first time in gas-phase spectra. Generation of these emissions from oxygen atoms in a system free of molecular oxygen establishes that atom recombination is the production mechanism.